I would bet my chickens that any Silkie owner has asked themselves this question before.
Can these balls of floof actually see?
We’ve raised Silkies for over 10 years now, and believe me, we’ve seen it all — but have Silkies seen it all?
Here’s the truth about Silkies’ vision and whether they need human intervention!
The Challenges In Silkie Chickens Vision
Don’t get me wrong. A Silkie’s eyes are just as capable as all other breeds of chickens.
But, in many Silkie chickens, it’s their fluffy afro’s that fall in front of their eyes which often cause an obstruction for an otherwise clear field of vision.
It’s important to note that this doesn’t occur in all Silkies (see below).
As each individual Silkie’s afro-like crests can vary considerably from chicken to chicken, the impact the obstruction of feathers makes can range from minor to mild, to extreme.
So How Do You Know If Your Silkie Can See Properly?
Even if your Silkie does have some of its feathers clearly covering its eyes, it doesn’t automatically mean it can’t see!
This is because chickens actually have a very wide field of vision, having an eye on either side of their heads gives them a much wider field of vision than we humans.
The vast majority of Silkies have absolutely no problem seeing, even if they have a slightly smaller field of vision due to their afro covering some of their eyes.
So, even the Silkies with the “worst” obstructions will still retain at least SOME vision.
This goes for Silkie roo’s and hens.
When To Be Concerned About A Silkies Vision
If you have an exceptionally fluffy Silkie, then it’s absolutely warranted for you to be concerned about their vision.
If it appears your Silkie is having trouble navigating around the backyard, or is excessively tilting and turning their head in an attempt to see properly, then human intervention is recommended.
What You Can Do To Help
For those Silkies who show obvious difficulties in seeing, human intervention is absolutely recommended.
The good news? There is a very simple, painless, and completely ethical way of helping any impacted Silkies vision.
Should You Trim Your Silkies Crests?
For those Silkies who have obvious vision impairment, giving them a slight haircut can make a world of difference to their well-being.
This is best done with two people. While one person holds the Silkie, taking some of its excess crest feathers within their fingers, the other can carefully trim the most obtrusive feathers.
You shouldn’t need to trim your Silkies Crests more than once every 3 months, but since there is no impact on their health and well-being, you can give your Silkies a haircut whenever you feel concerned that they cannot see properly.
Hairbands For Silkies
I’ve seen many times on social media, chicken owners using mini hairbands to help their Silkies see.
Although this is certainly cute, it’s not recommended. It may not be causing any pain to your Silkies, but if it comes off, or they accidentally get it stuck around their beaks or necks then it can quickly become a problem.
For any Silkie that has obvious vision impairment due to their afros, a simple trim of their crests is a much more highly recommended treatment.
That’s A Wrap
Most Silkies will have SOME sort of vision impairment due to their natural boofy afros.
However, only those who have obvious vision impairment will need human intervention.
The good news is a simple clip of some of their most obtrusive crest feathers will be absolutely sufficient in restoring a normal field of vision.
Happy backyard farming everyone!